The neuronal background K2P channels: focus on TREK1

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2007 Apr;8(4):251-61. doi: 10.1038/nrn2117.


Two-pore-domain K(+) (K(2P)) channel subunits are made up of four transmembrane segments and two pore-forming domains that are arranged in tandem and function as either homo- or heterodimeric channels. This structural motif is associated with unusual gating properties, including background channel activity and sensitivity to membrane stretch. Moreover, K(2P) channels are modulated by a variety of cellular lipids and pharmacological agents, including polyunsaturated fatty acids and volatile general anaesthetics. Recent in vivo studies have demonstrated that TREK1, the most thoroughly studied K(2P) channel, has a key role in the cellular mechanisms of neuroprotection, anaesthesia, pain and depression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anesthetics / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacology
  • Pain / physiopathology
  • Potassium Channels, Tandem Pore Domain / drug effects
  • Potassium Channels, Tandem Pore Domain / genetics
  • Potassium Channels, Tandem Pore Domain / physiology*


  • Anesthetics
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Potassium Channels, Tandem Pore Domain
  • potassium channel protein TREK-1